Yes, I think so, and Joy Ellis is writing them.
Joy Ellis self-publishes eminently readable crime fiction, set in the Lincolnshire Fens. Like many other contemporary British crime writers, Joy writes police-procedural and about strong, women women in the police, and she does it very well. Altogether Joy has eight novels to her name – see her page on the very useful Books Series in Order site – and, for the latest book, Their Lost Daughters, Joy’s own website. Joy writes about two sets of characters (both police officers and both based in the Fens): ultra-tough and ultra-bitter Nikki Galena and gentler Joseph Easter and crew; young, university-educated and fast-tracked DI Jackman and older, experienced DS Marie Evans, who happens also to be a biker.
Stalker on the Fens (Nikki Galena and Joseph Easter)
Nikki Galena and Joseph Easter are the better defined characters, the characters Joy seems most confident in writing about. The two are a complete contrast, with Joseph Easter being sympathetically-drawn, gentle, wise and temperature, whereas Nikki Galena is just hard and tough. The relationship between the two is well evolved, the sort of relationship that develops between colleagues in a tough environment, of mutual trust and dependence – a man and woman without any sexual or romantic element (Ohmigod! Surely no such thing could ever happen!)
However, the plot line in ‘Stalker on the Fens’ just did not work for me. Elements of it were good: Helen, an aromatherapist, trapped in a building following an explosion, remembers another person, who is trapped in there with her, confessing to a murder. Years down the line, she is being stalked and cannot come to terms with her memories. Her partner is behaving strangely and seems unsupportive. Then Helen is murdered. Many questions are being asked, but the answers are too complicated and not satisfying. Also, I do not believe that thousands of people would attend an event, which included flower floats being launched in the river at midnight, for an aromatherapist, however good she was.
The Murderer’s Son (DI Jackman and Marie Evans)
Marie Evans and DI Jackman are not so well drawn. In fact, DI Jackman did not come alive to me at all, and we don’t realise that Marie is a bikey until well into the book. I’ve ordered Their Lost Daughters and am hoping to get to know them better.
The plot to ‘The Murderer’s Son’ is compelling from the word go. Daniel Kinder, a successful journalist, has a lot going for him, a developing career and a lovely girlfriend, Skye, with whom he has a good relationship, and a supportive home life with his adoptive mother. However, he has come to believe that his natural mother was the violent murderer, Francoise Thayer, and, when he comes into the police station to confess to a particularly bloody recently committed murder, Marie Evans disbelieves him. When she asks him why, he answers that he ‘has it in him’. We readers don’t want Daniel to be guilty, but he is obviously suffering from psychiatric problems, particularly from ‘absences’, when he cannot account from his actions. The plot progressed well and the ending was satisfying.
Do I recommend these books? Yes, definitely.
I’ve read several more books since then. I’d better carry on reviewing!