The Death Season by Kate Ellis

Death SeasonDI Wesley Peterson is busier than ever at work due to DCI Gerry Hefferman being reduced to light duties – mostly cold case work – following the events of at the end of The Shroud Maker. He’s hopeful that a man’s death in an hotel room is routine – it seems to be just an overdose of pills but soon a nasty stab wound is found in the back of his neck. A suspect is soon found on the CCTV – but they’re not long for the world either.

Soon, the identity of the man is discovered – his DNA is a match for a murder that took place thirty five years previously at a holiday camp. What possessed him to return to the scene of the crime? Given that nobody seemed aware of his guilt, could he have been killed for revenge? And how does this link to the human remains unearthed from a WWI ruined village that was claimed by the sea?

Book 19 in this series and, as with the Michael Jecks reviews, I struggle to find new things to say about the book. Maybe that’s why other reviewers give more details of the plot. But that’s not me, so I guess this will be the usual.

I’m a big fan of this series, we’ve established that. There’s a rudimentary bibliography of reviews for the series (and Kate’s other books) here and if you go back and read those, you’ll know what to expect. But if you haven’t read those, then basically: a police procedural in the present day, often linked to a past crime in recent memory, and a tale from the distant or not-so-distant past that shares a common theme with the present day case.

And the modern day case is always a complex (although not overly-complex) affair, enough to keep the reader’s curiosity piqued. Oh, and usually there’s a sting in the tail as well.

The same applies here as ever – the ongoing tale of the main characters progresses nicely as well, with Wesley’s family life again taking a back seat to his responsibilities, Gerry Hefferman struggling with his recovery, etc. No major trauma (as ever) for our characters, which, for me, is a major plus point. The story is involved, twisting one way and the other.

This time… I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed. I thought the killer was obvious due to a lack of viable suspects and even the sting in the tale lacked surprise to me. And it seemed that there was a little too much coincidence in the plot – the murder victim is linked to the very cold case that Gerry is looking at, and a second such case is important too. And there’s more…

But that’s the voice of someone who has read a lot of mystery novels. It’s the highest rated of the series on Goodreads so maybe it wasn’t as obvious as I thought. But despite spotting the killer, it’s still a great read – I’d start the series with one of the other titles, but this one is still Highly Recommended.


  1. “And the modern day case is always a complex (although not overly-complex) affair, enough to keep the reader’s curiosity peaked.” I think the word you want is “piqued”.


  2. 19?! I know you’ve been reviewing these for a long time, but I didn’t realise there were that many. That’s very impressive, especially since they all seem to have been good to excellent.


  3. I am a bit surprised to see the next book to be reviewed by you. Generally such types of books are reviewed by John (the Pretty Sinister one) !


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