DI James Walker is ready for a quiet family Christmas in the sleepy village of Kirkby Abbey.
But when he opens an early Christmas present left on his doorstep, he soon realises it is no gift. Inside is a gruesome surprise, and a promise – twelve days, twelve murders. Not long after, the first body is found, half frozen in the snow.
As the blizzards descend, panic spreads through the remote Cumbrian village. There’s a killer amongst them, and with eleven more victims to go, anyone could be next…
Can James stop the killer before they strike again?
Thank you to Ellie at Avon books for inviting me to be involved in the Instagram Tour celebrating the publication of this book, using the hashtag #12Days12Murders thanks also to Ellie for the copy of the book.
Recently relocated from London, DI James Walker and his wife are seeking a quieter life, however the arrival of a gruesome gift along with a ’12 Days of Christmas’, card promising 12 murders in 12 days, quickly dissipated those plans. A vigilante killer, promising only to kill those who deserve to die, followed by 2 murders in quick succession sees newly appointed DI Walker kept on his toes in the race to apprehend the murder reaping fear in his own village. Pressure from the local community adds tension for the DI and extreme weather effectively locks down the village, killer and all.
A strong premise and an easy to follow plot made this a decent piece of crime fiction. A few shady characters in the community kept me guessing although I think I worked this one out prior to the reveal, but only just so I needed a few clues and remain very much an amateur sleuth!
I must say I found DI Walker and his wife Annie a little irritating, she came across as rather needy and I found some of their dialogue slightly stilted. A miner criticism and given this is a series it may be this improves as the characters evolve. I enjoyed the village setting and the development of the characters within this, as with any community there were a few shady folk about and lots of secrets.
The story was told in the week prior to Christmas and lots was packed into a few days, this gave the investigation and events energy, almost as if happening in real time. Shortish chapters kept the pace throughout and I found myself reading this book in large chunks. At 400 pages this appeared long for this genre, however I found it to be a quick read. I had mixed feelings about the ending insofar as it wrapped up much swifter than I would have anticipated, however the conclusion worked well.
Overall a decent piece of crime fiction and a promising first book in a new series. An easy read with a straightforward plot, should appeal to fans of this genre as well as fans of more general fiction – nothing to gritty or gruesome here!
About the Author
Alex Pine was born and raised on a council estate in South London and left school at sixteen. Before long, he embarked on a career in journalism, which took him all over the world – many of the stories he covered were crime-related. Among his favourite hobbies are hiking and water-based activities, so he and his family have spent lots of holidays in the Lake District. He now lives with his wife on a marina close to the New Forest on the South Coast – providing him with the best of both worlds!