Jane Isaac: Beneath The Ashes

*This book was sent to me for review as part of the Legend 100 Club by Legend Press.
*Potential for spoilers.

beneath-the-ashes-cover

The floor felt hard beneath her face. Nancy opened her eyes. Blinked several times. A pain seared through her head. She could feel fluid. No. She was lying in fluid.

When a body is discovered in a burnt-out barn in Warwickshire countryside, DI Will Jackman is called to investigate.

Nancy Faraday wakes up on the kitchen floor. The house has been broken into and her boyfriend is missing. As the case unravels, DI Jackman realises that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has a secret.

Can he discover the truth behind the body in the fire, and track down the killer before Nancy becomes the next victim?

Beneath The Ashes is the second novel in the DI Will Jackman series following our main protagonist, Will Jackman, as he attempts to uncover the mystery behind a body discovered burnt in a barn. As the case progresses and crucial information is revealed about the investigation, Jackman begins to realise that there is far more to this investigation than there initially seems to be.

Having come into this series from this book, I was slightly concerned that I would not be able to identify with the character of Will Jackman. I know from previous series like these (Jack Reacher etc), that information about the protagonist is usually drip-fed throughout each novel to build a better picture of the character and show how they have developed from each case and incident. Though I didn’t know much about Jackman himself because of this, I found myself easily growing to like him and his personality. We got backstory about his family life and got to meet those characters to understand his motives and what is driving him and, we also got to find out his ambitions within his career. Though there wasn’t a lot of information dump in regards to his character description, I was still able to visually imagine how Jackman would look and the mannerisms that he would use within each situation. As I progressed through the novel, I began to understand that Jackman is a man dedicated to finding out the truth, with a passion for his job that gives the impression of someone as a workaholic. However, he does know how to wind down and prioritise matters within his own life, spending time outside of the investigation on himself and socialising with his family; although his working life does sometimes interfere which is to be expected.

The mystery of the man discovered burnt within the barn was one that spanned the whole of the novel. Though his identity is revealed around halfway through, the investigation does not end there as Jackman tries to understand why this man has been killed and for what motive. This is the moment in which Jackman realises that there is more to this investigation as more and more characters become involved. However, not only do we see Jackman’s side of the case, but we also get Nancy Faraday’s POV in some of the chapters. In some ways, she is also the victim through the events that have taken place and how they directly effect her and the way she lives over the course of the investigation. Some of the situations that her character experiences helps to progress the investigation, helping Jackman to uncover the truth about the man’s identity and puts Jackman in the right direction to completing this investigation. Nancy, however, doesn’t just sit around and act like the victim. She takes some matters into her own hands and she frequently questions everything that she knows in an attempt to understand everything that is going on around her. We also get information on her past as well, which links in with other characters, showing a lot of similarities and helping us, as the reader, to understand the other characters involved.

I haven’t read a detective novel in quite a while and, it was refreshing to do this after reading so much YA, fantasy, and science-fiction over the past few months. It brought about a lot of nostalgia for the likes of Bosch and Jack Reacher and it is a series that I would like to become heavily infested in. It’s a quick and easy read that brings you into the heart of the investigation, making you questions every scrap of information that comes Jackman’s way. I believe that this is why novels such as these are so highly rated, in that the author is able to draw the reader in and immerse them into the life of the protagonist giving the reader the feeling that they are working alongside the detectives within the novel. I look forward to seeing where Jackman’s path leads.

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