31 July 2017

Review: MASK WARS aka CRIME ON THE FENS, Joy Ellis

  • this edition first published in Great Britain 2010, MPG Books Group
  • ISBN 978-0-7090-9021-2
  • source: my local library
  • 223 pages
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)


THE DETECTIVE DI Nikki Galena: A police detective with nothing left to lose, she's seen a girl die in her arms, and her daughter will never leave the hospital again. She's got tough on the criminals she believes did this to her. Too tough. And now she's been given one final warning: make it work with her new sergeant, DS Joseph Easter, or she's out.

HER PARTNER DS Joseph Easter is the handsome squeaky-clean new member of the team. But his nickname "Holy Joe" belies his former life as a soldier. He has an estranged daughter who blames him for everything that went wrong with their family.

THEIR ADVERSARY is a ruthless man who holds DI Galena responsible for his terrible disfigurement.

The town is being terrorised by gangs of violent thugs, all wearing identical hideous masks. Then a talented young female student goes missing on the marsh and Nikki and Joseph find themselves joining forces with a master criminal in their efforts to save her. They need to look behind the masks, but when they do, they find something more sinister and deadly than they ever expected . . .
This is an exciting and absorbing crime thriller that you won't be able to put down from start to thrilling finish

THE SETTING The Lincolnshire Fens: great open skies brood over marshes, farmland, and nature reserves. It is not easy terrain for the Fenland Constabulary to police, due to the distances between some of the remote Fen villages, the dangerous and often misty lanes, and the poor telephone coverage. There are still villages where the oldest residents have never set foot outside their own farmland and a visit to the nearest town is a major event. But it has a strange airy beauty to it, and above it all are the biggest skies you've ever seen.

My Take

These days it is very unusual for me to complete reading a book in one sitting, but I did!

I was interested in the setting: the last novel I read was also set in the Fens, but the two settings could not be more different. This one is a police procedural with a Detective Inspector being given a "last chance". She likes to work alone, is driven by a need to rid the streets of drug pushers. Her newly assigned DS has also been given a last chance to prove himself. A new posting, and 4 weeks to prove they can hit it off. Needless to say they both have "history" and a few problems.

One thing I do know is that this won't be the only title in this series that I will read.

I like the two main characters and also their assistants who make up the rest of their supposedly dysfunctional team. Two cases get tackled in this novel: a rash of robberies and assaults being carried out by gangs wearing hideous masks, and a huge drug shipment coming into a nearby port in the Wash.

My rating: 4.6

About the author
Joy Ellis grew up in Kent but moved to London when she won an apprenticeship with the prestigious Mayfair flower shop, Constance Spry Ltd.
Many years later, having run her own florist shop in Weybridge, Ellis took part in a writers workshop in Greece and was encouraged by her tutor, Sue Townsend to begin writing seriously. She now lives in the Lincolnshire Fens with her partner Jacqueline and their Springer spaniels, Woody and Alfie. 

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