Lead Review

  • Book: Borderlands
  • Location: Northumberland
  • Author: L J Ross

Review Author: tripfiction



This is no.14 in the hugely successful DCI Ryan mystery series written by international best-selling author L J Ross, and the book can certainly be read as a standalone.

The novel opens with a scene set in Helmand Province. A soldier is severely burnt and sees his local friend, Naseem, die a terrible death. He returns to England severely traumatised and finds little understanding of his plight and struggles to cope and survive.

Out in The Northumberland National Park it is night time and a group of soldiers is practising shooting with live rounds when a woman runs across the terrain. She is running for her life. She is shot and killed, her face horribly mutilated. She has no identification on her.

In Newcastle a racist group is targeting religious centres, mosques, synagogues and individuals, leaving behind a very striking symbol.

DCI Ryan and his team have to race against time, tracking down a perpetrator who seems to be a serial killer on the loose. As always, there is a real sense of camaraderie and humour in the investigative team, with some personal backstories to add a sense of humanity. In an author’s note at the end of the novel, the author writes that Borderlands is a book about the human condition; it’s about relationships between people, and how one small act of kindness can defuse a potentially volatile situation… and she goes on to say that it’s a very restless world we live in, at the moment, and she wanted to remember all the good that people are trying to do, every day, in their own little ways.

Location is beautifully brought to life. The central setting is around Otterburn, with Wooler and Border locations like St Boswells featuring too. I learned about the early Bronze Age Stone Circle at Duddo and although I live in Northumberland, I had never heard of it (oops!) – but this is what TripFiction is about, learning about places through terrific fiction. Job done! Enjoy!

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