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.
From the beginning of this novel the thing I loved most about it was the scene setting. As someone who grew up holidaying on The Isles Of Scilly, mostly on Bryher (I even worked for a summer at the Hell Bay Hotel) where this novel is set I can tell you Kate has done a fantastic job writing the setting of this novel. Her writing took me straight back to the beautiful ruggedness I always loved about Bryher.
DI Ben Kitto was a dream for me to read, I couldn’t imagine any woman not falling under his brooding spell. He was brilliantly written and I enjoyed learning more about him, I found the way his character came to life through his back story very intriguing. I kept thinking there was more I needed to know which for me is when I know I have truly fallen for a character. I am very happy to know he will be returning in a second novel!
Ben isn’t the only intriguing character in Hell Bay, I found the book riddled with them which for a character driven reader like me was a genuine pleasure. I have to admit I did find myself looking for little bits of people I knew in the characters which was very entertaining for me.
There were so many characters I wanted to find out more about from Suzanne, the younger sister of Laura Trescothick with her tendency towards shyness that seemed to hiding more than her fair share of secrets, to old recluse Rose Austell who has been brewing up remedial lotions and potions for the islands residents for more years than anyone can remember. With her son the ex boyfriend of Laura what could she know that she’s keeping hidden from our gorgeous DI?
I was amazed that on an island as small as Bryher it was possible for me to suspect so many people, but during the course of this novel I must have had most of the characters on my ever growing suspect list at one point or another – baring the actual suspect I would like to add. That’s something incredibly impressive in Kate’s writing, for even as I ticked off one suspect after another I still never managed to make it to the right conclusion, she kept me guessing right until the end.
For anyone who has been to Scilly you will understand the ways of the islands, and the close knit community which was wonderfully portrayed by Kate in this novel.
I found the darkness of island life in the winter thoroughly intriguing especially as I can remember many a nighttime walk alone when all I could hear was the sound of my own footsteps. The feeling of someone being there in the darkness as someone from the city still always unnerved me, even though my own safety was pretty assured as I knew most people on the island. I think my knowledge and love of the island only heightened my feelings for this novel.
For me this novel was so grippingly dark and rugged that it held me in it’s grasp from the very first page. With a cast of characters so intriguing I didn’t want to stop reading as I felt I wanted to know more about everyone in this book. A complete page turner and a definite five star read.
Bryher was so brilliantly portrayed, I believe this could only have been written by someone with a love for the island itself, Kate truly captured the rugged beauty of the place for me.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster & NetGalley for providing me this proof copy in exchange for an honest review.